Initial Reaction: Best Book Ever. 272 stars (with one subtracted due to lack of sex scenes.)
Added after finishing first five books in the series: Please forgive the review self-plagiarism, but the following applies to all the books I've read in the series. So here it is:
I think Bujold is the best Sci-Fi writer I've ever had the pleasure to read, NO QUESTION. I found no weaknesses here but I will put in a special word for her absolutely superlative plotting. I also deeply respected the author's humanism, and the complete lack of Dune-yada-yada grandiosity. The only minor downside is the books (that I've read) have no sex, but then again you're so engrossed you won't miss it--at least I didn't and I'm a complete smut-hound.
Bottom Line: MUST READ FOR SCI-FI FANS.